John Micheal Osbourne is best known to many as kind of a reality show doofus, but Ozzy is the voice of Metal to many who grew up with him. I can remember buying an 8-track tape which was a K-Tel type compilation release of hard rock music. The one song that sounded like nothing else on it was Black Sabbath’s Iron Man, which began my journey as a Metal fan.
By 1980, Ozzy had been booted out of Sabbath and was deeply depressed as his old band had been reinvigorated by Ronnie James Dio. What changed things for him was guitarist Randy Rhoads and songwriter/bassist Bob Daisley who created such great music behind him that a new Ozzy arose. His solo work was somewhere between Sabbath and Van Halen, as Rhoads was every bit the player that Eddie Van Halen was. I have included a cool stage video of the band playing I Don’t Know from their debut, Blizzard of Ozz.
Diary of a Madman came out the following year and it’s his best solo work. Over the Mountain, Flying High Again, S.A.T.O. and the epic You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll.
On the Diary of a Madman tour, Ozzy bit the head off of a bat in Des Moines. This was my hometown and I saw him the following year at a rock festival which also featured Ted Nugent and Motley Crue. Maybe it was because of the bat incident the year before, but he was not the same guy at that show, waving his hands above his head trying to get the audience to be more mellow like it was Woodstock. Weird show.
His follow-up, Bark at the Moon, missed the amazing licks of Rhoads, but it still was pretty damn good. So Tired was his attempt at Paul McCartney-like 80’s pop.
His last 2 records of the decade had a lot of problems with constant band personnel changes, plus metal was going through a really shitty period, which is reflected by his choices. Ozzy’s take on televangelists is a crazy surreal video called Miracle Man and is worth checking out.
Finally, I have a really cool version of one of my favorite Ozzy songs, Mr. Crowley. It is basically played over by this sexy legged Asian girl who has mad skillz. Ozzy should hire her for his next tour.